Marine finance lender acquired

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Shore Premier Finance, a division of Union Bank and Trust, has been acquired by Home BancShares for about $374.5 million in cash. Union also received 1.25 million shares of Home common stock.

Shore Premier Finance said in an online statement that it would continue to offer dealer inventory floorplan financing and retail mortgage loans for U.S.- and Coast Guard-documented vessels. As of the closing of the acquisition, Shore Premier had about $384.2 million in total assets, including $383.4 million in total loans.

BancShares said that Shore Premier Finance will now be part of its wholly owned subsidiary, Centennial Bank. Shore Premier will be responsible for servicing the acquired loan portfolio and originating new loans.

“We’re always looking at acquisition opportunities to provide the strongest risk adjusted return for our investors,” John Allison, Home’s chairman, said in the statement. “The Shore Premier Finance team has built a solid foundation in the marine finance space, and we look forward to providing them the opportunity and resources to further develop that brand.”

Centennial Bank CEO Tracy French added that Shore Premier’s marine loan portfolio provides both “geographic and collateral-type diversification” for its new parent. “We envision this being the foundation of a meaningful presence in the marine financing market for Home BancShares,” French said in the statement.

Shore Premier Finance president John Marshall said that the same personnel who built up its brand will remain with the company. “It is gratifying to know that Shore Premier Finance has aligned itself with a long-term partner that shares its commitment to customer service,” Marshall said in the statement.

The company plans to establish a new loan production office in Chesapeake, Va., which is scheduled to open this month, pending confirmation by Arkansas state banking authorities.

Home BancShares is a bank holding company that provides commercial and retail banking and related financial services to businesses, real estate developers, investors, individuals and

municipalities. Its subsidiary Centennial Bank has branch locations in Arkansas, Florida, South Alabama and New York City. It is traded through the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbol HOMB.

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